10 Best Video Cameras Under $1000 in 2020
- Large 24.4MP sensor for optimum image quality
- Full HD recording at 60, 30, and 24 fps
- Great OLED viewfinder
- Large 24.3MP sensor and X-Processor for optimum image quality
- Capable of recording video at Full HD and breathtaking 4K
- Versatile film editing options and Film Simulation mode
Whether you’re an experienced videographer or are new to recording, you know that finding the best video camera under $1000 can be tough. While purchasing cameras can definitely be expensive, there are some great cameras out there that are capable of capturing truly stunning footage. If you are looking for a cheaper option, see our Video Cameras under $500 review. Top brand names like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm all offer some great cameras with very impressive recording ability.
But with factors like price, performance, specs, and features, how can you possibly make a decision? To help you, we’ve put together our list of the 10 best video cameras under $1,000. After reading through our list, you’ll be able to decide which camera is right for you.
- View the Best Video Camera under $1000, Below
- 1. Sony Alpha a6000
- 2. Fujifilm X-T20 XC16-50mm Kit
- 3. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K
- 4. Canon EOS 70D
- 5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V
- 6. Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR
- 7. Sony Alpha a6300 (Body Only)
- 8. PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K
- 9. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
- 10. D5600 DX-format Digital SLR
- 11. PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K
- How Do I Use a Digital Camera for Video?
- What Video Camera is Best for YouTube?
- Can You Record Video with a DSLR?
- How Do I Connect My DSLR to My Laptop?
- What Video Camera is Ideal for Outdoor Use?
- What to Look for When Buying a Video Camera?
View the Best Video Camera under $1000, Below
1. Sony Alpha a6000
One of the most impressive video cameras under $1,000 available, the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a camera with great video capabilities at an affordable price. Thanks to mirrorless technology, the a6000 is compact and weighs less than a pound but is capable of producing great-looking Full HD footage. With a 24.4 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a great low-light performance with ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200), the a6000 Mirrorless Camera offers high-resolution imaging in an easy-to-use, pocket-sized body.
Capable of recording Full HD supported at 60, 30, and 24 frames per second (fps), this digital model can produce crisp, vivid films. And with advanced autofocus technology offering 179 focal plane and 25 contrast detection points, this model is fast and will focus on even a swiftly moving subject. An added bonus is the built-in 3” tilting LCD screen and electronic viewfinder which are great for framing the perfect shot.
The Sony a6000 is a great introduction into the world of mirrorless digital cameras and is perfect for anyone looking for a lightweight, dynamic model that shoots impressive footage. It’s simple to operate and has a terrific autofocus system. At under $550, it’s one of the top buys on the market.
- Large 24.4MP sensor for optimum image quality
- Full HD recording at 60, 30, and 24 fps
- Great OLED viewfinder
- Incredibly light and portable
2. Fujifilm X-T20 XC16-50mm Kit
The Fujifilm X-T20 is an incredibly impressive mirrorless camera that is one of the best cameras under $1,000 for anyone looking to produce stunning, high-quality films. With outstanding design, great features, and exceptional performance, it’s one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today. Boasting a large 24.3 Megapixel X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and X-Processor Pro, the X-T20 is fast and powerful, delivering amazing image quality, even in low-light shooting conditions.
Capable of recording at Full HD and stunning, cinema-quality 4K video, this compact digital model is a filmmaking powerhouse. A tilting touchscreen panel makes this camera even easier to use. And adding to this model’s versatility, the X-T20 allows you to adjust aperture and exposure compensation while filming and even offers 15 Film Simulation modes. These modes allow you to adjust the effects of your 4K films as if you were manually swapping out film, letting you choose from Classic Chrome, Acros, Provia, and more.
Compact and capable of producing true-to-life image quality, the Fujifilm X-T20 is one of the most impressive mirrorless digital cameras on the market in 2017. Compatible with X Mount lenses, this model offers terrific performance and is highly versatile. And at under $1,000, it’s a premium choice that won’t cost you a fortune to own.
- Large 24.3MP sensor and X-Processor for optimum image quality
- Capable of recording video at Full HD and breathtaking 4K
- Versatile film editing options and Film Simulation mode
- Impressive shooting capability in low lighting
3. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K isn’t just the best deal under $1,000 on the market, it’s also a great camera for anyone interested in shooting high-quality footage. It delivers impressive performance and is packed with some incredibly useful features, making it one of the top point-and-shoot cameras in its class. With a large 20 Megapixel sensor, this camera produces bright, crisp images and offers an impressive optical zoom lens. Its bright F/1.4-2.8 aperture allows you to capture scenes with a professional-looking background defocus effect.
And a lens-mounted control ring lets you manually adjust exposure settings just like you would with DSLR cameras.
Capable of recording in visually stunning 4K Ultra HD and offering a great extended ISO of 25600, this compact digital camera provides some of the best low-light filming performance in its class. And the high-speed capability of recording at up to 120 fps means you can catch even the fastest movement with amazing clarity.
If you’re looking for a lightweight digital camera that can record fantastic image quality and offers versatile features and terrific performance, the LX10-K is one of the best options around. Impressive zoom, image and video quality, and solid performance make this one of the most popular cameras in its class. At under $600, it’s also one of the best deals out there.
- Large 20MP image sensor delivers vivid, detailed images
- Ultra HD 4K recording produces cinema-quality video
- Compact design is easy to handle and carry
- 4K Live Cropping lets you frame your shot while shooting
4. Canon EOS 70D
There’s a reason that the Canon EOS 70D is one of the most popular DSLR cameras under $1,000 among professional bloggers, photographers, and filmmakers. Providing exceptional quality in still photography and video, this powerhouse offers impressive specs that can rival some professional video cameras on the market. Its 20 Megapixel CMOS sensor captures fantastic Full HD recordings at 1080p and its Dual Pixel AF provides exceptionally fast autofocus both in live view and while recording. A 3” LCD touch panel screen allows you to get a clear view of what you’re filming and make rapid adjustments on the fly.
The additional Movie Servo AF allows you to smoothly track subjects while they’re in motion, locking in on even the fastest movement. And thanks to a shallow depth-of-field, the EOS 70D delivers amazing cinema-quality results. With built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing of your content, great automatic settings, and the DSLR’s ability to manually adjust every aspect of your exposure settings, the EOS 70D is a true workhorse that’s capable of delivering spectacular results.
The Canon EOS 70D is the go-to camera for many of the most popular filmmakers and vloggers out there because of its amazing design, high performance, and incredible versatility. It offers tremendous video quality and one of the best AF systems on the market right now. If you’re going to be recording at sporting events or other fast-paced situations, it can’t be beat. While the ability to record in 4K would be great, it’s still capable of producing exceptionally clear footage and is one of the best models out there for under $1,000.
- 20MP CMOS image sensor for breathtakingly vivid image quality
- Fast and impressive Dual Pixel AF allows you to make rapid adjustments while filming
- Movie Servo AF allows you to record while staying locked on any fast-moving subject
- Ability to record Full HD at 1080p, even at 3x optical zoom
5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras priced under $1,000 on the market today and is perfect for anyone looking for a lightweight, compact model that shoots incredibly detailed video. With a 1” 20.1MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor this tiny powerhouse boasts the world’s fastest hybrid AF system at 0.05 seconds and with 315 AF points, it offers the most phase-detection points of any compact camera in its class.
Plus, the RX100 V can cover 65% of its 1” sensor and lock onto any subject with incredible speed and accuracy. For exceptional video quality, this compact digital model is capable of recording highly-detailed 4K movies with direct pixel readout and no pixel binning. This means that the RX100 V can deliver stunning film quality that can stand toe-to-toe with most mid-level DSLR cameras on the market.
If you want to enjoy true 4K video recording capability but would prefer a compact camera that’s easier to use than a bulkier DSLR, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V is one of the best cameras out there. While it comes in at just under $1,000, it is one of the top-performing point-and-shoot cameras on the market and has the fastest and most impressive AF system in its class. This model can rival some mid-level DSLR cameras on the market while being small enough to fit in your pocket.
- Visually-stunning 4K video recording ability with no pixel binning
- One of the fastest and most impressive AF systems in its class
- 3.6x optical zoom helps you get close to the action
- Incredibly lightweight and compact
6. Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera is incredibly affordable and is the ideal option for anyone looking for a video camera under $1,000 that is easy to operate and is capable of recording high quality footage. Available for a fairly low price, this entry-level DSLR camera delivers impressive performance, some very useful features, and is very simple to use. With a large 24.2 Megapixel image sensor, the T6i can produces terrific, realistic images while offering optimum light detection for reliable performance in low-light conditions.
A 19-point all cross-type AF system with the advanced Hybrid CMOS AF III allows it to be incredibly fast and stay locked onto any moving subject. Capable of recording Full HD video with spectacular resolution in MP4 format, this T6i doesn’t only allow you to save valuable memory space, it also optimizes online video playback. An advanced EOS optic system lets you create a shallow depth-of-field for professional-quality films. And with the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, storing your content on your smartphone or sharing them online is quick and easy.
At just under $750, the Canon EOS T6i is one of the most affordable video cameras under $1,000 on the market today. It offers the flexibility and versatility that you’d expect from DSLR cameras while also being incredibly user-friendly and easy to use. Capable of recording beautiful video thanks to its Full HD recording capability and fast AF system, it’s one of the best options out there.
- 24.2MP CMOS APS-C sensor with ISO of 100-12800, expandable to 25600
- High-resolution Full HD video recording in MP4 format
- Fast and smooth autofocus system can capture any action with impressive clarity
- Reliable IS system for improved stabilization
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easier communication between devices
7. Sony Alpha a6300 (Body Only)
If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera that’s priced under $1,000 and that is capable of delivering phenomenal video recording performance, then the Sony Alpha a6300 is one of the top cameras that you can buy. With great low-light performance, a great battery life, and one of the best autofocus systems in its class, this compact digital camera is a video-recording powerhouse. A large 24.2 Megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor captures light and delivers high-resolution image quality.
And with the ability to lock onto any subject in 0.05 seconds, it offers the world’s fastest autofocus speed. And a wide ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 512008 means that you can shoot distortion-free film even in dim lighting. Built with a weather-sealed magnesium body, the a6300 is incredibly durable and can be used in any weather condition. And with the ability to record video in either Full HD or Ultra HD 4K, this lightweight mirrorless camera lets you produce true cinema-quality films.
The Sony a6300 is one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market. Easier to use than a bulkier DSLR, it delivers high performance and exceptional video quality. With the fastest AF system ever produced, it can lock onto any subject in under a second and thanks to its lightweight construction, it can be tucked into your pocket when not in use. Solid battery life means you won’t have to worry about running out of power while shooting and at under $850 (body only) it’s one of the top cameras on the market for filmmakers.
- Large 24.2MP CMOS image sensor delivers impressive image quality
- Incredibly wide ISO range from 100 to 512008
- World’s fastest AF system
- Weather-sealed magnesium body
- Full HD and 4K video recording capability
8. PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K
The Panasonic LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera is a true workhorse that delivers DSLR-quality images without the weight and bulk. With an interchangeable lens, great features, precise autofocus, and impressive video recording capability, it’s one of the best cameras under $1,000 in its class. The LUMIX G7’s 16 Megapixel sensor delivers image quality that rivals what you’d expect in heavier DSLR cameras while its high ISO performance up to 25600 means that you can capture high-quality images in low light conditions.
An autofocus speed of up to 0.07 seconds, paired with Continuous Auto Focus and Depth-From-Defocus technology means that the G7 can lock onto any subject in no time for smooth, remarkably clear footage. The LUMIX G7 can record video in breathtaking 4K Ultra HD, allowing it to deliver 4x the pixels of comparable Full HD recording cameras. And with integrated Wi-Fi, you can seamlessly share your latest films on your phone, tablet, or various social media accounts.
At just under $800, the Panasonic LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera is one of the most impressive cameras in its class. It’s remarkably lightweight and compact while delivering true DSLR-like image quality and performance. Fast AF and a number of useful features only serve to boost the appeal of this popular camera, making it one of the top video cameras on the market today.
- Large 16MP image sensor for detailed images
- Fast AF speeds
- 4K video recording capability
- High IS performance for low-lighting shoots
- Wi-Fi enabled for easy sharing of your films
9. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is one of the top point-and-shoot cameras under $1,000 available in 2020 and is perfect for anyone interested in a compact, digital model that is capable of producing high-quality films. Packed with tons of useful features and delivering impressive image quality, this small digital device makes it easy to capture great-looking video in almost any situation.
The G7 X Mark II boasts a 20.1 Megapixel sensor and, with Canon’s DIGIC 7 Image Processor, this camera locks in on fast-paced subjects, reduces outside noise, stabilizes the image from external movement, and performs remarkably well in low light. A high-resolution, tilting LCD touch panel helps you expertly frame the action. And, with the ability to record in Full HD video at 1080p, this compact digital camera allows you to record sharp-looking, vibrant films in MP4 format with stereo sound.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a perfect option for anyone looking for an easy way to record high-quality content. It offers the simplicity of design and operation that point-and-shoot cameras are known for while delivering impressive performance, a fast AF system, solid stabilization, and a crisp, sharp videos. It’s a terrific option for anyone looking to spend under $1,000 while avoiding the complexity and bulk of the DSLR cameras on the market.
- 20MP sensor with advanced DIGIC 7 Image Processor for high-quality performance and fast speed
- Full HD video recording capability in MP4 format for optimum online playback quality
- Remarkably easy to use
- Impressive image stabilization and fast autofocus speeds
- Ability to select focal points of video on interactive touchscreen both during and after shooting
10. D5600 DX-format Digital SLR
The Nikon D5600 DX-format DSLR is a highly affordable option that is ideal for videographers looking for a mid-level high-performance camera that’s priced under $1,000. Capable of recording cinema-quality video footage, the D5600 has the features, specs, and versatility that you are looking for in video camera. The Nikon D5600 DSLR features a large 24.2 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and an AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens for amazing sharpness in various lighting conditions. With an ISO 100 to 25600 and the Expeed image processor, it delivers amazing AF speed and precision, even in low-light scenes.
This DSLR camera is capable of recording Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, perfect for capturing fast-paced action. A 3.2” touchscreen and viewfinder help you perfectly frame your shot. Great automatic settings allow you to easily capture any moment without manually adjusting the exposure settings and, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity, sharing your films with friends and loved ones is a breeze.
The Nikon D5600 is a reliable workhorse video camera that is perfect for anyone who wants to buy an affordable DSLR under $1,000. 4K video recording capability would be great but the resolution and colors of this model’s Full HD recordings is very impressive and, at 60 fps, it’s great for countless filming projects. Plus, the ability to use the full range of Nikkor’s amazing lenses further boosts this camera’s versatility and performance. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly entry into the DSLR world, this model is highly recommended.
- Impressive 24.2MP CMOS sensor and Expeed processor for enhanced speed, performance, and image resolution
- Excellent ISO performance for low-light shooting with minimal noise and distortion
- Versatile camera records Full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second
- Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth enabled
11. PANASONIC LUMIX G85 4K
The Panasonic LUMIX G85 is the pinnacle of mirrorless Micro Four Thirds technology. This compact digital camera is one of the best video cameras under $1,000 on the market and delivers true-to-life image quality. With fantastic stabilization, AF, performance, and features, the G85 is a lightweight, durable camera and one of the most popular cameras on the market.With a 16 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds image sensor, 5-axis body stabilization, and LUMIX 2-axis optically stabilized lenses, this mirrorless model offers crisp, clear imaging, even in fast-moving or difficult shooting situations.
Designed with amazing audio, visual, stabilization, and autofocus controls, it’s an incredibly versatile compact camera that can be used anywhere. The G85 records highly-detailed 4K video at 30p/24p or Full HD at 60p, allowing you to produce cinema-quality films with ease. You can use these mirrorless cameras in any condition thanks to their weather-sealed construction. And with a wide-variety of LUMIX lenses at your disposal, this is a very versatile compact camera.
At just under $1,000, this is a terrific option for anyone interested in purchasing a high-end interchangeable lens, mirrorless model that rivals the performance of bulkier DSLR cameras on the market. It’s light and weatherproof, so you can take it anywhere. And with an impressive IS system, fast AF, and HD video recording, it is one of the best video cameras in its class.
- 16MP MFT image sensor
- Amazing in-body and external stabilization systems
- Fast AF technology locks onto subjects in any environment
- 4K video recording capability for truly stunning, high-quality footage
Buyers Guide Questions
How Do I Use a Digital Camera for Video?
Up until a few years ago, your only option if you wanted to record high-quality films was to use a camcorder because cameras designed for still photography just couldn’t match the performance delivered by these cameras. But over the last few years, technology has advanced and movie capture has become a staple in even the most basic digital camera. Today, there are several point-and-shoot, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras on the market that even offer stunning 4K video recording ability and are still priced at under $1,000.
These cameras allow you to enjoy the benefits of exceptional still and video photography in one device. To film, all you have to do is set your camera to the movie capture setting and press the shutter. But to produce the best possible results, there are some tips to keep in mind when filming with one of these digital cameras.
Many of the more expensive cameras on the market have a high ISO range and a large sensor for improved light capture. This allows them to record in even low-light conditions. But if you are working with a smaller compact model that has lower ISO or a smaller image sensor, it’s advised to shoot video in plenty of light in order to avoid noise and distortion in your images.
Framing Your Shot
When shooting, try to leave ample space above the head of your subject. This helps to ensure that it doesn’t look like your subject is touching the upper part of the screen in playback. Also, since the shakiest movements are when you are starting and ending your shot, try to bookend your segment by beginning your shot a few seconds earlier than needed and ending it a few seconds later. This will allow you to edit out the shaky portions of your film without losing your intended content.
Stabilization allows your camera to compensate for camera and external movement, allowing for a smoother finished product. If your camera has IS, set it to continuous IS mode while filming for optimum stability. And if you are planning on taking long, continuous pans or camera movements, consider investing in a camera slider or tripod. These tools will allow you to make fluid movements with professional smoothness.
Another aspect of keeping your film steady is to pay attention to your zoom. If your camera offers zoom, don’t overuse the feature because the results can be very jarring during playback. And if you are using the zoom, do so in a smooth, control speed.
One final aspect to consider is the exposure transition that occurs in your camera when you move from a dark area of your scene to a lighter one, or vice versa. Your camera will adjust to this difference in lighting automatically but unless you give it time to compensate for this light change, the results can be some distortion. To compensate for this, move your camera slowly when you are switching to another area of a scene so that the transition comes across more naturally.
What Video Camera is Best for YouTube?
One of the top options out there for producing stunning YouTube content is the Fujifilm X-T20. A more affordable version of the brand’s flagship X-T2, this mirrorless camera is simply one of the best options priced under $1,000 and is ideal for YouTubers of any experience level. The X-T20 uses the same 23.4MP APS-C image sensor and X-Processor Pro image processor as the X-T2, so it offers the same impressive video hardware as its pricier cousin.
And with an incredibly fast and accurate autofocus system, it offers a bunch of tracking modes that allow it to smoothly lock onto any fast-moving subject with ease. For control, the X-T20 offers two modes, Auto and Control. These allow you to simply record video at the push of a button or adjust exposure settings such as focus, exposure compensation, and aperture while you are shooting, just like you could with a bulkier DSLR. With amazing video capabilities, this model can record stunning cinema-quality 4K at 30, 25, or 24 fps and Full HD 1080p at a smooth 60 fps.
And since this device was designed with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, you can operate it through your smartphone with the Fujifilm Camera Remote App and instantly upload content to your phone or tablet for easy posting on YouTube. An added bonus is the fact that this powerhouse video shooter is weather-sealed. This means that you can bring this compact, lightweight model anywhere and shoot in any weather condition. So whatever type of content you provide on your channel, the X-T20 has you covered.
Can You Record Video with a DSLR?
You might be wondering if you could record video with a DSLR camera. Years ago, these models were only suitable for quick movie clips and still photography. But with the technological advances that have been made over the past few years, many of these versatile cameras are now capable of shooting high-quality 4K or Full HD film on par with what you can expect from a camcorder.
With large sensors, powerful image processors, and impressive AF and image stabilization systems, you can now count on reliable models like the Canon EOS 70D, Canon Rebel T6i, and Nikon D5600 to create stunning cinema-quality video easily. In fact, the Canon EOS 70D has quickly become the preferred model for many of the world’s top vloggers and filmmakers.
How Do I Connect My DSLR to My Laptop?
While many DSLRs offer Wi-Fi or NFC connectivity, these tools are mostly used to connect your photographic device to either a smartphone or tablet, not a laptop. While this is perfect for most users, sometimes you might want to connect your DSLR directly to your laptop, ready for photo editing. By connecting your camera to your PC, you can use it as a webcam, view your live feed directly on your laptop’s screen, instantly save your images and films to your computer, and even operate your DSLR through your computer’s controls.
To connect your DSLR to your laptop, you simply need a USB cable. Most cameras will come with a micro USB to regular USB wire. Simply connect the two devices with this wire and then access your camera through a software program like Adobe Lightroom. This will allow you to see what you are shooting, perform post-shot edits, and save your work directly to your PC.
What Video Camera is Ideal for Outdoor Use?
If you’re planning on filming outdoors, then you want a powerful camera that is easy to carry, can withstand the elements, and delivers impressive video quality in a variety of lighting conditions. The Sony Alpha a6300 is one of the top mirrorless models on the market and scores high marks in all of these categories. A 24.2MP sensor and ISO range to 512008 means that this powerhouse can deliver exceptional image quality in practically any lighting condition.
It shoots true-to-life, highly-detailed 4K video and has the world’s fastest AF speed, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot. Since it’s a mirrorless model, it’s significantly lighter and more compact than bulky DSLR cameras. And, thanks to its weather-sealed body, it can be used in any weather condition. With high performance, exceptional image quality, a durable build, and incredible low-light performance, the a6300 is simply the smartest purchase for anyone interested in shooting in the great outdoors.
What to Look for When Buying a Video Camera?
Cameras are like cars. There are tons of different makes and models out there with a variety of different performance capabilities and features. Choosing the best one can be confusing. While you can’t go wrong with purchasing any of the models featured in our list of the best video cameras under $1,000, choosing between them can still be tough. When looking at the options, the smartest move is to consider the following 5 factors.
Megapixels, or MP, are simply a way to measure the resolution that a camera provides. The higher the number, the larger the size of a high quality print you can make. For instance, an 8MP camera can make high-resolution prints measuring up to 8×10 inch while 12×18 inch prints would require a 20MP model. While this is an important factor in choosing a device, it’s not the most important one. You can still make great stills and recordings with a model offering a lower MP size.
It’s important to balance the megapixels that the model you are looking at offers with other important factors like its autofocus (AF) speed and accuracy, its ISO range, and its image stabilization (IS) system. For the average videographer, any model boasting between 16 to 24MP is more than capable of delivering impressive results.
You don’t want to be shooting film without actually being able to see your shot. This is where screens come in. This feature allows you to frame your shot precisely and, thanks to the LCD touchscreens offered with many models, adjust settings and focal points simply by touching the screen. And since the screen acts as a viewfinder, it allows you to see what you’re filming in conditions where you can’t look through a physical viewfinder.
But a tiny screen isn’t going to allow you to perform these functions easily. A small LCD screen will be tough to see and even more difficult to navigate. Because of this, the perfect size for most filmmakers is going to be a screen that measures at least 3”.
Zooms allow you to get closer to a distant subject. One thing to keep in mind is that some models mention two types of zooms, optical and digital. These are very different functions.
A digital zoom is simply when your camera enlarges the pixels in a shot, making the subject larger. Unfortunately, since a digital zoom is just an enlargement, the image you capture will be grainer and more pixelated. An optical zoom actually uses the lens of the camera to “zoom in” on a subject. This allows for clearer images without the excessive pixilation caused by digital zooms.
Most cameras featuring optical zoom will offer a zoom length of at least 3x. This means that the lens will make your subject at least 3x’s as big. Other high-end zooms offer up to 12x Optical Zoom but these models are going to be much more expensive. The perfect model for most people looking to film with an adequate zoom is one which offers a minimum length of 3x. If you’re interested in a higher zoom capacity, your smartest move is to purchase a mirrorless or DSLR model that allows you to purchase a more powerful zoom lens down the road.
Video Capture Resolution
You’re planning on capturing video so one of the most important aspects to consider is the resolution the model that you’re looking at offers. Almost any point-and-shoot, DSLR, or mirrorless model can now capture Full HD (High Definition – see NASA examples) video in 1080p. This resolution provides sharp picture quality that is perfectly suitable for the average user. For people interested in capturing the sharpest video quality possible, more advanced models offer 4K video recording.
The resolution offered with this format is incredibly detailed, vivid, and is actually four times the resolution offered by 1080p. If you’re a casual user looking to record family gatherings or various social events, then a camera that records at Full HD is more than capable of delivering the high-quality you’re looking for. But if you’re a professional or someone who desires to produce the sharpest footage possible, the right move would be to purchase a model that can record 4K videos.
Weight is something that many people don’t consider when purchasing a video camera but it’s a critical factor. If you’re a hobbyist or plan on taking your camera everywhere you go, purchasing one that is incredibly heavy and difficult to hold for long periods of time can be frustrating. But since most cameras in a given class weigh about the same, you can easily decide which is right for you. Point-and-shoot models are normally the lightest and most compact around.
They might not offer the same image quality of heavier DSLR or mirrorless devices but they can fit in a pocket easily and usually weigh around 1 pound. DSLR cameras are the bulkiest models on the market. These cameras are incredibly versatile and are favored by many pros because of their image quality and exceptional performance. But the downside is that they are heavy and large, meaning that carrying them for extended periods of time is going to weigh you down.
Mirrorless models are capable of delivering performance and image quality that is similar to what you can get from a DSLR but at a fraction of the weight. They are compact enough to carry easily but have larger sensors and better image quality than most comparable point-and-shoots. The main thing to consider when thinking about weight is what kind of projects you’ll be using your video camera for.
If you’re traveling, taking home videos for personal and family enjoyment, or even sharing your content on social media, then a powerful, lightweight travel point-and-shoot is a great idea. If you are looking for true professional quality and don’t mind the excess weight, you can’t go wrong with a high-performance DSLR. And if you want professional results but still need an easy-to-carry model, then a mirrorless device is a great way to go.
Out of the video cameras under $1,000 featured in our review, our recommendation for the top pick on the market today is the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless camera. Compact and incredibly lightweight, this easy-to-use model delivers sharp, smooth Full HD videos without the bulk of a DSLR.
With an impressive hybrid AF system, the a6000 is quick to lock onto a subject and its internal stabilization helps make sure that your videos are crisp and clear. With a 3” LCD screen and electronic viewfinder, you can frame each shot like a pro and when you’re done, simply put this camera in your pocket.
If you are looking for a compact device that delivers high-quality images and can record fast action scenes, this is the perfect model for you. And at just under $550, it’s one of the best deals out there today.
At just under $900, the Fujifilm X-T20 is one of the most expensive cameras for recording videos that was featured in our review but it’s also one of the best models in its class. With an exceptional design, stunning image quality, and impressive features, it’s our recommendation for top premium choice of 2020. This mirrorless model offers a large 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and the X-Processor Pro, allowing it to produce truly amazing cinema-quality 4K video in any lighting situation.
With a great automatic mode, it’s remarkable easy to use but also features a Control Mode that allows more experienced photographers to manually adjust their exposure settings like they would with a DSLR. The ability to use X Mount lenses opens up this device to a variety of shooting conditions. Film Simulation Mode lets you change the appearance of your videos with ease.
And a great touchscreen panel and electronic viewfinder help you navigate camera options and perfectly frame your shot. While it might cost more than some other models highlighted in our list of models under $1,000, the X-T20 is perfect for anyone seeking the performance of a DSLR in a lightweight, compact body.
If you’re looking for a great value under $1,000, our recommendation is the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K. You wouldn’t expect much from a point-and-shoot camera but this compact digital workhorse can stand toe-to-toe with a lot of the mirrorless and DSLR models that you’ll find on the shelves.
Its 20MP sensor is great at capturing light and delivering highly-detailed images and, thanks to its F/1.4-2.8 lens, it lends a stunning defocus background effect in your scenes. The ability to record 4K Ultra HD (click to read study) video is a welcome addition to this affordable model, allowing you to produce exceptionally clear, vivid films at up to 120 fps.
4K Live Cropping lets you frame your shot as your work and a lens-mounted control ring lets your adjust manual exposure settings like you would with a bulkier DSLR model. At just under $600, it’s one of the best bargains on the market in 2020.